Taco'bout delicious: Vegetarians rejoice over this simple Mexican appetizer

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Mexican dishes are a crowd favorite, but they're often loaded with cheese and fatty ingredients. However, giving up Mexican food is not an option, which means we need recipes we can eat and still feel good about it. Chef Hugo Ortega of Hugo's showed us how to create a Mexican classic with a vegetarian twist without compromising on taste.

Garnachas de Calabacitas
(Makes 8 garnachas)

Garnachas Ingredients:
-2 cups sweet potatoes, medium diced
-1 cup masa (available in Mexican stores)
-1-1/2 cups corn oil for frying

-3 Tbsp. corn oil
-1/2 cup white onion, small dice
-2 cups Mexican squash, medium dice
-1/2 cup cooked white corn kernels
-1/2 cup cooked red quinoa
-1/4 cup red tomatoes, medium dice
-1 Tbsp. pipicha (Mexican herb)
-Salt to taste

For the garnachas (make ahead up to 1 day):
1. Place sweet potato in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and continue boiling until tender, about 25 minutes or until tender. Strain all liquid. Allow potato to cool, set on the side.

2. Place masa in a bowl, slowly knead sweet potato into the masa until completely incorporated. Masa texture should be soft, but not sticky. Divide masa into eight equal balls; cover with a moistened kitchen towel while working. Using the palm of your hand, flatten each masa ball into an oval shape. Meanwhile preheat a cast iron pan or comal previously greased, place garnachas one at the time and cook each side approximately 1 minute, remove from heat, pinch a border 1/2-inch deep, working from the center to the edge, flatten the bottom and make sure border is even throughout each garnacha, put on the side.

For the filling:
Heat the 2 tablespoon oil in one pan and the over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 30 seconds, add Mexican squash and sauté for one minute, add white corn, quinoa and tomatoes and sauté for 30 seconds more. Add pipicha and salt to finish.

To assemble:
1. Place cast iron skillet over medium heat, add corn oil to skillet and preheat until bubbling, about 3 to 4 minutes. Working two at time, place each garnacha well-side down and cook until crispy, approximately 2 minutes. Flip and cook 2 minutes to crisp bottom.
2. Place cooked garnachas on paper towels to drain. Fill each garnacha with Mexican squash mix. Garnish with beans, guacamole, cotija cheese, queso fresco, sour cream.

-1/4 cup black bean puree (made by pureeing in blender)
-1/4 cup guacamole
-1/4 cup cotija cheese, small dice
-1/4 cup queso fresco
-Sour cream

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